When a young couple moved into the apartment next door to me, I lost no time in inviting the wife to the weekly Torah class we held in our building.

When she refused my offer a few times, I mentioned to a neighbor that I didn’t think this woman was interested in spending time with us in the evenings.

“You invited her to a Torah class?!” she countered. “You should invite her for a Shabbat meal! What this woman needs now is friends. Later on, you can think about inviting her to a class.”

In fact, this has always been the way of Chabad rebbes. When the first Chabad rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, got married, he and his wife invested their entire dowry in purchasing land to create farming communities for their fellow Jews so that they could make a living. They not only bought the land, but animals and equipment as well, ensuring that the new settlement would be sustainable.

Many years later, Rabbi Schneur Zalman wrote the Tanya and taught many followers about the Chassidic way of life. But before he fed their souls, he made sure that they were cared for physically.

Thoughtstream: Today, I will reach out to someone and inquire about her physical needs before I try to take care of her spiritual needs.